Imagine yourself in a Japanese garden – a family garden, surrounded by dozens of delicate trees, grapefruit and hundreds of bushes of gardenias. It's early morning, the day after a thunderstorm. Imagine the drops of the rain on the leaves with the sun breaking through the cloud. The scent of the white gardenia is strong. With the humidity and heat, the scent emanates from the ground.*
That's Camille Goutal of Annick Goutal, explaining the inspiration for the line's latest perfume launch, Un Matin d’Orage. It's a reasonably accurate portrait of what you can expect, I suppose, although to my nose, Un Matin d'Orage is both drier and more transparent than what you'd get from "hundreds of bushes of gardenias" on a hot, humid day — and just as well, as such a thing might knock you out cold.
The opening is heavily ozonic and aquatic, and has a slight mineral aspect; overall, it nicely conveys the sense of "after the storm". The gardenia and magolia stand out most clearly in the dry down (other notes: lemon, perilla leaves, ginger, jasmine sambac, champaca and sandalwood), but I cannot emphasize enough how soft and sheer and dewy they are: there's nothing cloying or heady about Un Matin d'Orage. The sense of fresh air and rainwater persists throughout; so that while the flowers smell lush and exotic, it is as though you are smelling them from a distance, and filtered through greenery and a slight fruity undertone (a friend described it to me as peach skin, and that's about right).
It's beautifully done. It's pretty and spring-like and easy to wear (far easier to wear than Annick Goutal's last foray into the exotic floral category, the gorgeous but perhaps-not-for-the-office Songes), and I would think it will a big hit for Annick Goutal. All the same, I cannot decide if I love it, although I'm quite certain that if that butterfly bottle fell into my lap, I'd wear it. But just as some people have a mental block of sorts against lemon perfumes, and any lemon perfume, no matter how wonderful, is bound to remind them of furniture polish, so it goes for me with fresh notes. Anything overly ozonic, no matter how brilliant the composition, reminds me ever so vaguely of dryer sheets. I've been wearing Un Matin d'Orage for days now, and some days it seems too clean and fresh for my liking. I'm going to set it aside for a few months, and then see how I like it in hot weather.
Annick Goutal Un Matin d'Orage was developed by perfumer Isabelle Doyen. It is available in 50 and 100 ml Eau de Toilette (above center, $80-115), in the 100 ml limited edition white butterfly bottle (above left, $220), or in a 10 ml Rollerball (above right, $29). For buying information, see the listing for Annick Goutal under Perfume Houses.
*Quoted in The Morning After at LifestyleAsia.